Tutoring falls under the all-encompassing term: academic support. When it comes to supplementary education there are so many options to choose from depending on the type of enrichment or extra tuition a student may need. And tutoring in all its many forms is just one of them.
The objective with any kind of educational support is to assist learners to overcome whatever obstacles they may be facing in their learning journey by discovering their full potential and achieving academic success.
So if you feel like your child is at a crossroads in their education and they're experiencing difficulties with their studies then it may be time for them to connect with someone who can help them.
Thankfully there is an array of student support services that you can choose from!
Finding the Right Academic Development Organisation for You
It’s very normal for even the strongest learners to feel the need for extra learning support at some point in their studies. So if your youngster feels like they aren’t coping as well as they usually do with their coursework then don’t delay seeking assistance.
Sometimes the biggest hurdle is figuring out why they're battling in the first place and it’s worth speaking to a counsellor to get to the bottom of it. When you know the root cause it becomes a lot easier to form a plan to fix the problem.
In the mean time here are some universal factors that may apply to your child:
Anxiety and Stress and From Falling Behind
It’s only too easy to fall behind in your studies or school work and when this happens, catching up can become an overwhelming task. Many students fall behind momentarily and then they find it impossible to get on top of their studies which results in a constant state of stress and frustration.
Living in a constant state of anxiety is neither good for your academic performance or your mental health and it is absolutely unnecessary to suffer in silence! Speak to your children and together you can form a plan to get back on track. It’s so important for them to feel supported.
As much as some learners may struggle to keep up, it can be just as frustrating when you feel intellectually under-stimulated. For students who are gifted this can become a serious problem within in their learning environment and a sense of boredom can lead to poor academic achievement.
In these cases the first step should be speaking to the educators and requesting extra supplemental academic challenges. However, not every education institution is equipped to adequately deal with this scenario and it may be in a learner’s best interest to seek after-school tutoring or mentoring at a learning centre for gifted children.
Dealing With a Learning Disorder
It’s not uncommon for a learner to display symptoms of a learning disability and this can seem overwhelming at first. Whether it’s a matter of struggling due to a disability such as dyslexia or ADHD there is so much help available for struggling students.
If a school doesn’t offer academic support and learning resources for a child with a learning disability then it’s best to seek out a professional tutor who specialises remedial instruction for learners who display weaknesses in their learning abilities.
The Challenges of Being a Second-Language English Learner
Often the cause for academic challenges stems from a language barrier. This is the case for many South African learners who attend a school where the language of instruction is not their home language. If this is applies to your child then be sure to provide tutoring for them or enquire about whether the school offers extra English classes to support ESOL learners.
Not every family has the finances to provide a balanced diet to their youngsters, let alone private tutoring. Fortunately there are systems in place to help families that have financial difficulties. If you are struggling to keep the family budget intact, don’t be shy to ask your child’s school for financial aid. Many schools set a portion of their budget aside for just this and there are often lunch programs available too to ensure that no learner attends classes on an empty stomach.
Academic support needn’t cost parents anything thanks to study groups, peer tutoring and mentoring programs that can be set up in any school. If your school doesn’t offer anything like this then perhaps you can approach the educators and initiate something new in your child’s school.
Be attentive to your child’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Unnecessary stress at home or in their social life can have a severe impact ton a learner’s academics. If a child displays deteriorating marks it can well be in an indication that they may need help with their mental health.
Being Expelled From School
This situation can be devastating for parents and if your child is no longer able to attend public schooling it’s easy to feel helpless. However, there are many alternatives available now more than ever before and chances are that you may find a new avenue of learning that your youngster will thrive in.
Other than finding a school that will accept your child you may want to consider sending them to a tutoring centre or setting them up with one-on-one home tutoring or online tutoring.
How to Look for Academic Support
Despite all the claims that your school years are the bomb, for many of us and for many of our children these years can be filled with angst. And academic support refers to a multitude of methods, services and strategies that aim to take the load off and address any academic problems that may be the cause of stress and anxiety or vice versa.
Some options to look into:
Support Within the Classroom Environment
Peers provide fantastic academic support. This is often done through peer mentoring where an academically strong learner partners with a learner that is struggling and this provides one-on-one real time support within the classroom.
Many kids flourish when being tutored by one of their peers and it can prove to be a very symbiotic arrangement that pushes both learners towards greater academic excellence.
Supportive Programs Offered at School
Most schools will offer some kind of academic support usually in the form of group tutoring sessions, extra classes and coaching before exams where learners will have the opportunity to revise their coursework and learn new study skills.
Students can also form their own study groups and request a venue within the school grounds where they can meet in their free periods or even before the school day begins.
Assistance Apart From School Programs
Although municipal libraries don’t actually function as an academic support facility they can be a wonderful resource centre. Apart from offering a quiet and secure place for learners to study, many libraries also offer computer facilities where students have the opportunity to access the internet for projects and assignments.
There are some wonderful non-profit organisations in South Africa such as SAEP that provide quality support to vulnerable learners and have countless testimonials of student success. From improving academic skills through test-prep and free tutoring to addressing mental health programs, these groups make a big impact where it’s needed most.
Enquire with your local municipality about an academic skills centre that may be available for your child to access within your vicinity.
Private Tutoring Services
Learners can thrive from the individualised academic assistance that a private tutor offers. Although private tutoring prices may seem to put a dent in your budget, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t have to be a permanent arrangement and your child may benefit from just a few one-on-one tutoring sessions too!
Many local religious centres, such as churches, actually use their facilities to serve the community in between regular services. This may be in the form of counselling for anxious youngsters, fun small-group tutoring sessions or individuals who can offer academic advising for your child’s education.
For most working parents after-care programs are a must but sometimes the lack of instructional guidance during homework time can lead to gaps in a learner’s education. It’s worthwhile looking for an after-care facility that is run by someone with an education certification and that offers some form of tutoring and mentoring during homework sessions. Ask for a referral from parents you know.
Using Online Tutors
Using a private tutor online is a fantastic option for busy households where there is little time for carting children from one extra-mural activity to the next. Some children also prefer using online tutoring services simply because they feel more at-ease in their own home.
Tutoring lessons can also take place in other venues such as a coffee shop or at a parent’s workplace. So opting for online tutoring also caters for situations where flexibility is necessary.
Help is at Hand!
Whether your youngster is struggling with their school syllabus and staring blankly at their textbook, displaying signs of ADHD, showing weaknesses in specific areas such as their writing skills or merely stressed out about beginning test preparation, there will be a way to provide academic support that is perfectly suited to them!